Auto Service World
Feature   September 1, 2001   by CARS Magazine

Training: Prove your worth

Many ASE-certified technicians receive salary increases, have better job opportunities and are selected for advanced training.

In the spirit of the ASE tests, which are in multiple choice format, we present “What you need to know about ASE testing” in a question-and-answer format. Don’t worry about choosing the right answer, though; all of our answers are correct.


What are the goals of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)?

a) Improve the quality of vehicle repair and service.

b) Perform testing and certification of repair and service technicians.

c) Provide a means for consumers to measure the knowledge and skills of technicians and facilities.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was established in 1972 to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service through testing and certification of technicians. At present there are about 415,000 professionals with certification. Over 40 exams have been developed by ASE to address specialties such as automobile, medium/heavy truck, truck equipment installation and repair, school bus, collision repair, engine machinist and parts specialist.


How can a technician register for the ASE tests?

a) on-line at;

b) by telephone at 877-564-8661;

c) by mail;

d) by fax.

The option of mailing or faxing your registration form is not advisable at this time. You would have to call ASE at 703-731-3800 to have a registration package sent to you, and then mail or fax it back before the deadline of Sept. 28. The key here is that registration forms must be received by Sept. 28 by ACT (which administers the tests for ASE) in Iowa.

What happens after registration?

a) Expect to receive your admission ticket within two weeks.

b) Call ACT at 319-337-1433 by October 12 if you do not receive an admission ticket or if there is a problem with your ticket.

c) Go to the specified test centre at the specified date and time with your admission ticket.

Note that the ASE tests are only offered twice a year. October 12 is the deadline for ACT to remedy any problems with your registration. After that date, ACT cannot correct any problems and you may have to wait until the spring 2002 test dates to take the tests you want.

What does it cost to take the tests?

a) the registration fee is US$26 per technician, no matter how many tests that technician writes

b) Most tests cost US$21 each.

c) The Advanced Level tests, L1 and L2, cost US$41 each.

Payment in U.S. funds must accompany your registration form. This is one reason that credit card payment is an appealing option. It saves you from the hassle of getting a money order or cheque in U.S. funds.


Are the tests difficult?

a) The tests are not a cakewalk. One in three participants will fail.

b) The questions are based on practical knowledge, so an experienced technician should feel confident that he/she can pass with proper preparation and careful reading of the exam.

c) The questions cover on-the-job diagnostic and repair procedures, and were developed by people working in the repair industry.

How can I prepare for my test?

a) ASE offers test registration booklets that explain testing procedures and policies in detail and contain sample questions.

b) Procedures and sample questions are also available from several other sources, including Chilton’s ASE Test Preparation Series and the Mitchell ASE Test Preparation Series. Also, test preparation manuals by James G. Hughes, Don Knowles and David Sharp are available from various sources.

c) ASE also offers Catalogs of Tests. The Catalogs contain detailed test specifications and task lists, more sample questions, and a listing of study materials and clinics available through the industry.

There are also strategies related to how to effectively write an exam. See SSGM March 2001 “Are you Ready?” for some useful exam-day tips.

What are the options if a technician does not read English well?

a) Technicians whose first language is not English may be permitted to use a reader or translator.

b) This must be arranged in advance, and ACT must approve this person.

c) The person can have no automotive experience, can translate for only one technician at a time, must be over 16 years of age, and cannot answer any questions related to test content.

d) Although books and reference materials are generally not allowed in the test room, English-foreign language dictionaries are permitted.


When should a technician take a re-certification test?

a) If it’s been five years since you took a particular test, it’s time to register for the corresponding re-certification test.

b) You may take the re-certification tests before your five years are up, but your new certification will be effectively immediately and expire in five years from the date of your re-certification.

c) You may take the re-certification test even if you have let you ASE certification lapse. The exception to this is the L1 re-certification test, for which you must be currently certified in A8 Engine Performance.

Certification credentials are valid for five years. Most re-certification tests are about one-half the length of the regular test.

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